Dear Barb – Dangers of Oxy Contin

Dear Barb:

I am in my second year of university studies. I always thought I was fortunate to find a roommate that I got along well with. However, this year I have noticed a change in my roommate. His grades are falling, he spends a lot of time alone, and he is constantly borrowing money from me that he is not able to pay back. I think he may be using drugs, especially something called oxy cotton. I had never heard of this stuff before. Do you know anything about this drug? If so, what can I do to help my friend to realize what he’s doing to his life?

Randy – Windsor

If your roommate is using oxy cotton, he has a serious problem that will require professional help to overcome.

Oxy cotton, or Oxy Contin, has been around since the mid-1990s. It is an effective pain reliever that works when other pain relievers fail, such as in the case of cancer patients. It has been referred to as “hillbilly heroin,” as initially it was used in rural areas. However, soon the rest of the world became aware of its powerful effects.

Oxy Contin is opium, therefore its addictive qualities are as difficult to overcome as those of heroin. As well, with continued use, a person will develop a tolerance and subsequently require more of the drug to achieve the same high. I think you can see where this problem could lead. A person will sacrifice family, friends, work, or whatever they need to in order to find a means to obtain more of this drug.

Information collected through the Drug Abuse Warning Network indicates how widespread this problem has become as the number of Oxy Contin related emergency room admissions rose from 3,290 in 1996 to 37,393 in 2002.

If you believe your roommate is involved with this drug, you need to seek the help of a trained counsellor. They will be able to assist you in approaching your roommate and obtaining the help for him that he needs.

I hope this information is of some help to you.

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.